Uppsala University granted 3 million SEK in innovation funding

2018-01-10

With three million SEK from EIT Health, Peter Bergsten, Professor of Medical Cell Biology at Uppsala University, has joined DeTecT2D - the international innovation project aiming to provide diabetes healthcare with an effective and much needed diagnostic tool.

Peter Bergsten, Professor of Medical Cell Biology

Type 2 diabetes is one of the world's major public diseases. In Sweden there are 410,000 registered diabetics, but the large number of unrecorded cases causes experts to estimate the actual figure closer to 600,000. Still there is no effective diagnostic tool for early detection of the disease, but now researchers are close to charting biomarkers that signal development of type 2 diabetes. The work is carried out within the framework of DeTecT2D, an EIT Health-funded scientific project in which key parts are conducted at Uppsala University.
– Today, healthcare is bound to time-consuming glucose tolerance-tests that require several hours of work. By tracking body substances that signal increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we want to rationalize the diagnosis process, reduce the use of healthcare resources and enable earlier efforts to slow down the disease, says Peter Bergsten, professor of medical cell biology at Uppsala University.

EIT Health is a European consortium that carry out EU's mission to pave the way for healthy lifestyles and active aging. With focus on education, innovation and entrepreneurship, Uppsala University and 130 partners initiate joint projects to contribute to sustainable health care. The foundation is international collaboration, and in DeTecT2D researchers from Germany, Great Britain and Sweden unite.
– I and my colleague Anders Forslund at the Uppsala Academic Children's Hospital study children and youths in order to locate alternative risk markers for type 2 diabetes. Just over a year ago, I met diabetes researchers at the University of Tübingen. They told me about their participation in the EIT Health-funded DeTecT2D, a similar project focusing on adults. I contacted project coordinator Rui Wang-Sattler in Munich, and in spring 2017 we agreed on the forms on including youths with type 2 diabetes in DeTecT2D.

With EIT Health granting three million SEK, Peter Bergsten's research team, in collaboration with Ali Moazzami at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, started analyzing samples from 350 children and youths to control them against the observations mady by DeTecT2D within adult populations. In 2018, the work will continue with another 150 samples, and according to Peter Bergsten, the project seem to have defined a number of possible biomarkers for further testing.
– Our goal is to create a prototype for an effective and reliable diagnostic tool for adults and hopefully also young people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This corresponds to an evident need in international healthcare, and is therefore in line with the requirements set by EIT Health for financing an innovation project.

Peter Bergsten's participation in DeTecT2D lasts until December 31, 2018. He describes his experiences to date as positive, and is currently considering at the possibilities of coordinating a future project application to EIT Health.
- I have received such a request, and although it will require a larger effort than stepping into an ongoing project, it is an interesting thought. To me, EIT Health has created new grounds for the kind of collaboration that is sometimes needed to advance science and turn it into applications. Uppsala University also offers professional administrative support all the way from application to budget and reporting, making the process relatively simple. So, if the subject is relevant and I feel that I can contribute, I am certainly open to new collaborations within the framework of EIT Health, concludes Peter Bergsten

Also read “EIT Health offers major resources and a unique European network”

Read more about EIT Health at Uppsala University
Read more about DeTecT2D and Peter Bergsten's research

More information EIT Health 2019 call for innovation projects
Contact Research Support Unit

photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

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